BELPO was founded by Zoila Ellis, a Belizean attorney and author, in 1995. When Ms.  Ellis left to live in the Insular Caribbean, her father, businessman Godsman Ellis, took up the helm.

Mr. Ellis recruited Candy Gonzalez, and together, they led BELPO for over a decade. Recently, Mr. Ellis retired and Candy accepted the role of Board President. Read more about Mr. Ellis below. See People for more about Candy and the others who are currently working with BELPO to protect the valuable and fragile environment and promote truly sustainable development in Belize.

In recent years, BELPO has grown in response to the demand for environmental law services in Belize.

Belize beach at dusk 

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Godsman Ellis

Godsman Ellis
Long-time Board President of BELPO

Godsman Ellis attended St. John’s Teacher’s College and later studied agriculture at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada from 1958-1961. He participated in the struggle against racism and oppression in Belize, writing the song, "Their hate for slavery made them free." His involvement in the formation of the National Garifuna Council is testament to the long range vision that he had for recognition and respect of the Garifuna Culture. He has represented Belize as President of BTIA (Belize Tourism Industry Association) and asked to serve on various bodies in an advisory capacity: PACT, USAID, Public Service Commission and Education Advisory Council. He was the first organizer and coordinator of the National Agricultural Show, which was held on Broaster Field in San Ignacio and also when it moved to the present location. He was the first Principal of the Belize College of Agriculture (presently UB Natural Resource Management Campus) and was appointed by the Government of Belize as the first Manager to establish the Banana Industry. He has been the vice-president of the Human Rights Commission for over 10 years and has led delegations worldwide in regional and international forums. His concern for community led to his involvement with the police as a trainer on human rights issues and he was involved with the San Ignacio Crime Stoppers.